The Chicago area is most commonly associated with things like deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, and love for disappointing sports teams. While Chicago’s geographically flat landscape does not bode well for downhill skiing, good ski resorts can be found for those willing to take a drive. Within three hours of Chicago, there are plenty of ski …
Guide to Wisconsin’s 36 Ski Resorts
Wisconsin is one of the snowiest states in the country which makes it an enjoyable one for skiing and snowboarding. Some of the state’s 36 resorts receive more than 100 inches of snow annually, and most have snowmaking abilities to keep the slopes skiable throughout the winter. Resorts near Lake Superior have the most powder, thanks to lake effect snow.
While the state isn’t known for being mountainous, it has a vast amount of hilly terrain. These hills create many opportunities for skiing, particularly for slopes managed by clubs, towns, and counties.
These might not be the most challenging runs, but they’re perfect for practicing throughout the winter. A few resorts even have backcountry skiing options for a more intense powder experience on ungroomed trails.
The ski season usually begins in early December and can last through early April. Resorts further south with fewer snowflakes usually have a shorter season, although the region has more options. There are a handful of larger resorts in the state, as well as medium-sized ones on fewer than 100 acres and small ski areas, which are community-owned and -operated.
The Big Resorts
The largest resorts in Wisconsin are located all over the state, from the north near Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the Wisconsin Dells to the south near Madison. They have a wide variety of runs and terrain so every type of skier can find runs that fit their skill level.
Granite Peak Ski Area is the largest resort in the state. It has 225 acres of terrain and 55 trails, plus 4 progressive terrain parks with plenty of rails and boxes for skiers and snowboarders. The slopes are evenly divided between advanced, beginner, and intermediate runs.
Cascade Mountain is a large resort in the heart of the Wisconsin Dells. It has 48 trails and 4 terrain parks on 176 skiable acres.
The resort receives 50 inches of snow annually, but has 100 percent snowmaking capabilities, so skiers and snowboarders can always expect fresh powder. One of the biggest draws to the resort is the inexpensive lift ticket for children. Those 12 and under ski for free with a paid adult.
Close to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is Whitecap Mountains Ski Resort. The 3 mountains on the resort combine to make 400 acres of skiing. Skiers and snowboarders can find plenty of choices among the 43 runs.
Most impressively, the resort receives an average of 200 inches of snow each year. This lake effect snow produces large amounts of light snow, perfect for skiing and snowboarding.
Devil’s Head Resort, just an hour north of Madison, has one of the longest runs in the state, at 1.5 miles. The 30 slopes are evenly divided in difficulty, in addition to 2 terrain parks on its 300 acres. The resort also has night skiing and crosscountry skiing.
Wilmot Mountain is just over the Illinois border and is an easy drive from Milwaukee or Chicago. The resort is located on 120 skiable acres with 25 trails, 2 terrain parks, and a dedicated beginner area.
Medium Ski Areas
The majority of Wisconsin’s public ski areas have fewer than 100 skiable acres, but pack a lot into their small spaces. Most of them have terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders, several include backcountry skiing and a few have snowtubing.
- Alpine Valley Resort
- Camp 10 Ski n Snowboard
- Christie Mountain
- Christmas Mountain Village
- Grand Geneva Resort and Spa
- Little Switzerland
- Mont Du Lac
- Mount Ashwabay Ski and Recreation Area
- Mount La Crosse Ski Area
- Nordic Mountain
- Paul Bunyan Ski Hill
- Sunburst Winter Sports Park
- Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreational Area
- Tyrol Basin
- The Rock Snowpark
Community Ski Areas
Throughout Wisconsin, several ski areas are managed by towns, counties, and clubs. Most of these are operated by volunteers and are fairly small, with just a few runs. These community ski areas rely primarily on natural snow, so they aren’t always open during the season.
Some have rental equipment, though quantities are usually limited. These small drawbacks are balanced by incredibly low lift tickets, with many charging as little as $5. Some ski clubs are only open to members, though they may have visitor passes available for a day.
- Ausblick Ski Hill
- Blackhawk Ski Club
- Bruce Mound Winter Sports Area
- Camp Forest Springs / Sunset Hill
- Fox Hill Ski Area
- Heiliger Huegel Ski Club
- Kettlebowl Ski Hill
- Keyes Peak Ski Hill
- Nutt Ski Hill
- Perkinstown Winter Sports Area
- Pinehurst Park
- Powers Bluff County Park & Winter Recreation Area
- Standing Rocks County Park
- Triangle Sports Area
- Whitetail Ridge Ski Area
- Winter Park – Kewaunee County
Many of Wisconsin’s resorts participate in the Skiing Wisconsin Passport, which provides lift tickets to 18 resorts during the ski season. This gives skiers and snowboarders in the state an opportunity to sample many of these locations and find just the right fit. And with 3 dozen ski areas in the state, Wisconsin has resorts of every size and skill level in nearly every location.